It is common knowledge that cars need regular oil changes. It is one of the most important car maintenance there is. Doing so makes sure that the engine is always working properly and efficiently. However, not all car owners understand why it is done and how important it is. Many drivers still have some questions about it, that is why in this article, we compiled the most common questions and have these oil change questions answered. Some of the most common questions include:
- Why do you need an oil change? – Oil changes are needed since over time, oil will start to degrade as its additives get used up. It will also start to gel or solidify and will turn into sludge which can harm your engine and its components.
- When should you have your oil changed? – The exact oil change interval varies from car to car but experts recommend having your oil changed every 3,000 miles or three months.
- Can I switch oil brands between oil changes? – You can switch brands between oil changes as long as you use an oil marked with the API donut of the same level. Make sure that you check your owner’s manual for the recommendations of viscosity and API category set by your manufacturer.
- How often should I check my oil level? – Experts recommend that you should check your car’s oil level at least once every few weeks or prior to having a long journey. If you own an older car, you should check its oil level more frequently.
- What happens if I don’t have my oil changed? – Not following the oil change intervals set by your manufacturer can cause a lot of problems such as overheating, poor fuel economy, and premature wear.
There are still a lot of questions about oil changes that are asked by many car owners. We will go through each one and have these oil change questions answered. If you want to know more, continue reading! We’ll tell you everything you need to know!
Oil Change Questions Answered: What to Know Before Getting an Oil Change?
There are some things every car driver should know before getting an oil change for their cars. Many drivers are asking these questions and today, we will have these oil change questions answered.
- When should I get my oil changed?
While experts are recommending that an oil change should be done every 3 months or 3,000 miles, know that the exact oil change interval can vary from car to car. To know the exact oil change interval of your car or any specific details or instructions about its oil change, check your owner’s manual. You will get a lot of helpful information there.
When it comes to your car and its maintenance, do not make assumptions about when you should change it based on other cars or past experiences. Most cars today are equipped with service reminder monitors that are capable of alerting the drivers that their oils are due for change. This device will know if the car is already due for an oil change based on how many miles the car has traveled and how it is driven. If your car is equipped with this system, make sure that you have your car scheduled for an oil change when you get the said alert.
- What type of oil should I use?
Just like the question, “when should I get my oil changed?”, this question can also be answered by consulting your owner’s manual. In general, there are three different forms of engine oil which are the conventional, synthetic, and synthetic blend or semi-synthetic oil.
The conventional oil is what many people refer to as the regular oil. This type of oil is much affordable, but it does not last as long as the other two. The synthetic oil is the type of oil that is artificially created. It has undergone some process and has been added with high-performance additives which make it more capable of lubricating, protecting, and cleaning the engine than the conventional one. Since it has some additives, you can expect that it will cost more than the regular oil. On the other hand, the synthetic blend is basically a combination of both conventional and synthetic oils. It is a bit more affordable than the synthetic oil but it is also capable of providing some of the synthetic oil’s benefits.
Now, if you ask what type of oil you should use, you should follow the recommended oil type set by your car manufacturer. If it calls for a synthetic oil, then you should use that one. If it said that you can use a conventional one, you can use conventional oil, but you can also upgrade it by using a synthetic one.
Aside from the different types of forms of engine oil, it also comes in different grades or weights. The weight refers to the viscosity of the oil which is the measure of its resistance to flow. It is indicated in numbers such as 5, 10, 20, 30, and so on. The lower the number, the thinner the oil is while the higher the number, the thicker the oil. As mentioned earlier, you need to consult your owner’s manual for any specific details on what type and what grade or weight of oil your car needs.
While there are cars that allow a slight variation from the recommended number, it is best to follow the exact number recommended by your manufacturer to make sure that you won’t experience any problems. You need to know the recommended oil type of grade for your car before having your oil changed so you can control what type of oil and its cost the mechanic will put in your car.
- Do I also need to replace my oil filter every time I change my oil?
Oil needs to be clean so it can do its task properly and the oil filter is responsible for keeping it clean. The oil filter is responsible for keeping dirt, grime, and other debris out of the engine oil. This helps keep the oil from being contaminated. When the oil filter is clean, you can expect that the oil will be clean as well.
Do I also need to replace my oil filter every oil change? This is one of the commonly asked questions and in this article, we will have these oil change questions answered. The experts are recommending that you should have your oil filter changed every oil change. It will be useless to have your oil changed but your car still uses a dirty oil filter. It is because the fresh, clean oil will still travel through the used filter and it may come out dirty again.
- How often should I check my oil level?
Between oil changes, you should check your oil level regularly. This way, if your oil level becomes low due to some reasons, you can easily top it off. You need to check your oil level for at least every couple of weeks. If you see any early signs of leaks, you should have it repaired immediately to prevent any further damage.
You can also check your owner’s manual for any specific instructions regarding this and make sure to follow the recommendations of the manufacturer. There are some cars that are equipped with electronic oil monitors instead of having traditional dipsticks used for manual inspection.
If your car has a dipstick, you can check your oil level by making sure that your car is parked on a level surface. With the engine cooled down and turned off, open the hood, look for the dipstick, and pull it out. Wipe any traces of oil on its end. Put the dipstick back into the tube, push it all back in, and pull it out again. Check both of its sides and see where the oil is on its end. If the oil is below the minimum mark, top it off.
You should also check the oil’s color. It should be black or brown, but if it has a milky appearance, then it means that there is coolant leaking into your engine. If you notice this or any metal shavings in your oil, take your car to a mechanic and have it repaired immediately.
Oil Change Questions Answered: What are Some Common Mistakes When Performing an Oil Change Service?
Many car owners are now doing simple car maintenance and repairs themselves thanks to the many do-it-yourself videos and tutorials online. While this can save you some bucks, it can be risky especially if you are not familiar with how the car works. That is why, one of the common questions asked is, “what are some common mistakes when performing an oil change service?”.
As mentioned earlier, in this article, we will have these oil change questions answered. Here are some common mistakes done during an oil change service that you should avoid.
- Using the wrong oil
We have already discussed the different types and weight or grade of an engine oil. It is important that you follow the recommended type of oil which can be found in your owner’s manual. If you use the wrong oil in your engine, it can cause problems such as leaks, burning oil smell, unusual noises, and poor performance.
Using oil with the wrong viscosity can also cause several problems. If the oil is too thick for your car, it can prevent it from reaching into the deeper and tighter passages in your engine block which can prevent it from lubricating the components. On the other hand, if you use oil that is too thin for your car, it can cause your engine components to suffer premature wear since the wrong oil won’t be able to protect them and efficiently lubricate them.
- Using the wrong oil filter
You also need to use the right oil filter for your car. You can check your owner’s manual to know what type of oil filter your car needs. If you use the wrong oil filter, it can starve your engine of oil or it may fail to properly filter the dirt and other debris out of the oil. When this happens, it may clog up your internal engine parts which may lead to serious engine damage.
When replacing the oil filter, its o-ring needs to be replaced too. This is because this o-ring is what provides a seal and it tends to wear out over time. This is why you need to also have it replaced to make sure that it won’t cause any problem later on. When replacing an o-ring, you need to wet it first with oil before tightening the oil filter. This can help it survive the initial torque when you tighten the filter.
- Overfilling or underfilling the oil
One of the common mistakes while performing an oil change is overfilling or underfilling the oil. You need to pay close attention to the amount of oil you add in your system. Overfilling the oil can result in engine oil foaming up inside which will reduce the hydraulic pressure. This causes extra pressure to build up on the PCV system which can cause the engine gaskets and seals to leak.
Underfilling the oil can also lead to several problems. This is because it can mess up the system’s hydraulic pressure and lubrication of the engine’s components. It can cause premature wear and potential damage to these components due to too much friction and heat. When performing an oil change, make sure that you consult your owner’s manual to know how many quarts of oil your car needs.
- Missing oil cap
You need to be on top of things when performing an oil change. You need to make sure where you put small, important car parts such as the oil cap or the drain plug. It can happen when the oil cap is misplaced or is not put back on after the oil change. When this happens, it can cause issues such as an illuminating check engine light or oil spraying out all over the engine compartment. This is something you don’t want to deal with since repairing it will be very expensive.
As mentioned earlier, we will have the most common oil change questions answered. Hopefully this guide will help you be prepared as you or a mechanic perform an oil change. Being prepared means there will be less room for errors.